Alumni Making Big WavesJuly 15, 2018
by Lily Bermel, Future Blue Intern
Earning awards in Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest is just one of the many accomplishments of rising seventh grader Gitanjali Rao and ninth grader David Ansaldi.
Both Gitanjali and David became deeply interested in the sciences as elementary school students. When middle school came, they hit the ground running with their exceptional intelligence and work ethic.
By age 12, Gitanjali invented the “Tethys,” a water lead contamination detection system with a bluetooth property that sends the test results to a smartphone. Since the sixth grade, David has made efforts to develop a cheap, durable, and safe polymer for human interaction.
Both Bow Seat alums have received significant recognition for their work. In 2017, Gitanjali won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and received $25,000 for her invention that she hopes can be commercialized in the future. She was also invited to be on a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) panel in New York earlier this year and has even made a few TV appearances. David has won the Area Catholic Schools Regional Science Fair the last two years, and received second place during his first year in the fair — all for his table for his polymer. He is planning to continue engineering his polymer until completion.
These two students participated in Bow Seat by each submitting a film. Gitanjali won the Bronze Award in the 2017 Contest. Watch her video that shows the ocean’s perspective here. David was the project manager for a group video that won an Honorable Mention Award in 2017. You can watch his video about pollution here.
Bow Seat is a program that gives us a voice to share our love for the environment and stand up for what is right.
Gitanjali discovered Bow Seat on her own when searching for a film competition to participate in. She especially appreciated Bow Seat for the opportunity to join a community of environmental advocates. “Something that is different about [Bow Seat] is that [its community] cares about making the world a better place and that’s why I chose this one,” she told me.
David, on the other hand, was assigned to participate in Bow Seat in his science class at school. He appreciated this because of the structure of deadlines provided by the teacher. It gave him the occasion to step up and be the project manager of his group. Through this assignment, David realized he liked to create films and manage the production of them.
I loved what Gitanjali said about the significance of participating in Bow Seat: “It was about how you can change the world environmentally. And I really love helping people so I immediately wanted to do this.”
It is wonderful to see how our alumni are taking initiative beyond Bow Seat, just like Gitanjali and David. Not only is winning a Bow Seat scholarship a great accomplishment, but it requires a process that gives its alumni the skills to continue to do great things. Bow Seat is a program that gives us a voice to share our love for the environment and stand up for what is right.